France fears it will be the target of reprisals for the killing by US forces of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said on Wednesday.
“Threats are everywhere and we can indeed fear that France will, like the United States and other friendly countries, be the target of reprisals and desire for vengeance,” Gueant said on RTL radio.
“Yesterday I gave instructions for patrols and precautions to be strengthened. We are adapting well to the situation,” he added.
France’s national security alert has been at a heightened level since 2005.
Gueant said he was also concerned about the threat “against French interests and French people abroad,” particularly in the Sahel region of northern Africa, where French people have been kidnapped and killed in recent years.
He said French police were posted at airports in certain African countries considered at risk and France was being “very vigilant” at its embassies.
Special security measures were already in place on Air France flights.
Four French hostages are being held in Mali by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a north African offshoot of Bin Laden’s extremist network.